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fhines upon us.
nicated more fully than before to his Apostles ; to teach them all Things needful, and bring to their Remembrance whatever he had said to them: so that in all their Difcourses for the Instruction of Mankind, it was not so much they who spoke, as the Spirit of the Father that spoke in them'. Nor can we doubt; but he afforded them equal Affistance at least in what they wrote for the Use of all future Ages. The same Spirit was also their Comforter under every Suffering : and lastly bore Witness to the Truth of their Dotrine and our Faith, by a Multitude of Signs and Wonders and supernatural Gifts 8: by which Means, and the Ministry of their Successors, whom likewise the Holy Ghost made Overseers over Christ's Flock", the Light of his Gospel hath filled the World, and now
Nor is it outwardly alone, that he reveals and confirms to us divine Truths: but as the blessed Jesus promised, that he should dwell in his Disciples, and abide with them for ever i; fo, by his inward Operations, the Credibility of which I Mall, God willing, prove to you in its proper Place, he opens our Heartsk to receive the Word of God, influences our Affections to delight in it, and excites our Wills to act conformably to it: for which Reasons good Persons are said to be led by the Spirit'; and all Christian Graces to be the Fruits of the Spirit ". With the wicked he strives", till they obstinately harden themselves, and then forsakes them. But those, who yield to his Motions, he renews', and strengthens with Might in the inner Man P; helps their Infirmities, and both directs and animates their Prayers, thus making, as it were, Interceffion? within them. By this one Spirit, being in all Christiansy, they are united into one Body's and made to love each other. By the Holy Ghost also, the Love of God is feed abroad in our Hearts '; teaching us to
look upon him, not as an auftere Master, but a kind Parent; or, in the Language of St. Paul, to cry, Abba, Father And thus the Spirit beareth Witness with our Spirit, joins with our Consciences to complete the Evidence, that we are the Sons of God 4: from whence arises that Joy in the Holy Ghost ", which different Perfons have in very different Degrees : and therefore no one should defpond, because he feels but little, or at Times perhaps Nothing, of it, provided he truly honours and ferves God. But to fome Persons, on fome Occasions, the heavenly Comforter vouchsafes, boch strong Allurances of their good State ; (hereby know we, that God abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us * ;) and fuch lively Consolations from it, as amount to a Pledge and Foretaste of Happiness to come. Accordingly they are said to be sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise, which is the Earnest of their Inheritance Y.
But to prevent wicked Persons of enthufiaftic Tempers from mistaking, as they often have done, their own groundless Confidence for the inward Testimony of the divine Spirit, they should be carefully reminded, that by our Fruits we are known?, and must know ourselves *; that the Fruit of the Spirit is in all Righteousness and Truth, and only good Men are full of the Holy Gholf. For inte a malicious Soul he will not enter ; nor dwell in the Body, that is subject unto Sin. The Holy Spirit of Discipline will flee Deceit; and remove from Thoughts, that are without Understanding ; and will not abide, when Unrighteoufness cometh in 4.
III. The next Thing proposed was to fpeak of the Duties owing to the Holy Ghost : which, besides the general one of honouring him fuitably to his Nature as God, are in particular to be baptized in his Name, as I have already mentioned; to pray for his. Graces ; for God giveth Grace unto the humble, and will give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him; to be heartily thankful for all
* Rom. viii. 15. Gal. iv. 6. u Rom. viii. 16. *, John iii. 24.
y Eph. i. 13, 14. 1 John ii. 3. Eph. v. 9.
c Aets xi. 24. • James iv. 6.
* Luke xi, 13
w Rom. xiv. 17. 2 Matth. vii. 16.
d Wild. i. 4, 5e
his good Motions, and conscientiously to obey them in every Inftance. By this last I do not mean, that we should believe every Spirits; follow every strong Imagination of our own, or Pretence of Light from above in others : but adhere fteadily to that Rule of Life, which the Holy Ghost hath directed the Writers of Scripture to teach us, and inwardly prompts and disposes us to observe. For other Inspiration, than this, being now become unnecessary; we have no Reason to distrust it. But especially, if we be urged, under Colour of such Authority, to break any one standing Precept of the Gospel, or add to, or take away from, any single Article of our Creed; though an Angel from Heaven were to require it, we are not to yield; but keep close to the Faith and holy Commandment, which were once delivered to the Saints i, and shall never be altered.
These then are our Duties to the ever-blessed Spirit. There are likewise mentioned in Scripture,
IV. Sins against him. And one of these, not all, as melancholy Persons are apt to imagine, but one alone, is said by our Saviour to be unpardonable: which is Blasphemy againk the Holy Ghoftk. Now that means only, Speaking reproachful Words, deliberately and mali. ciously, against the miracles done by the Power of the Holy Ghost, or the supernatural Gifts proceeding from kim, and the only Perfons, to whom Christ declared, that this should not be forgiven, were thofe, who had the Testimony of their own Senfes for the Reality of these Miracles and Gifts ; and notwithstanding the fulleft Evidence of their coming from the Spirit of God, obftinately perksted in reviling them, and even ascribed them to the Devil. Now there is a plain Reason, why this Sin, under these Circumstances, must be unpardonable. The Persons guilty of it, had stood out againft all the Means, wbich Heaven had provided for the Conviction and Converfion of Mankind : none moro
Si John iv. I.
i 2 Pet. ii. 21. fude, ver. Jo * Matth. xii. 31. Mark. iii. 28, 291 Luke xii, 10. E 6
powerful remained to bring them to Repentance; and, as they could not be forgiven without repenting, there was plainly no Way left for their Recovery.
But then it is equally plain, that Persons, who never were Witnesses to any such miraculous Powers; but live as we do, many Ages after they are ceased ; cannot in this Respect, fin to the fame Degree of Guilt, since it is not against the same Degree of Evidence : and that as they, who were guilty of it originally, were Unbelievers in Christ, fo indeed, no Believer in him, continuing such, can possibly design, whilst his Thoughts and Words are in his own Command, to speak Evil of the Holy Ghost or his mighty Works. Nor therefore can he come under the Condemnation of those, whom the Epistle to the Hebrews describes, as wilfully doing Despite to the Spirit of Grace; and of whom it pronounces, that there remains for them no more Sacrifice for Sin, but a fear, ful Expectation of Judgment ! Believers may indeed rafhly and thoughtlessly use profane Words concerning the Holy Ghost: but these, though undoubtedly great Offences, and too likely to make Way for greater still, are very far from the unpardonable Sin. And as for what some good Persons are often terrified about, the wicked Imaginations that come into their Minds, and Expreffions that come out of their Mouths, at Times, almost whether they will or not; in Proportion as they are involuntary, they are not criminal in them, be they in their own Nature ever so bad. When therefore poor fcrupulous Souls affright themselves about such Things, as these; or when they who have not finned at all against the Spirit, otherwise than as every ill Action is a Sin against him ; or have finned in a quite different Manner from the Jews in the Gospel, and heartily repented of their Sin; when they apprehend, that not. withstanding this they cannot be pardoned ; they intirely miftake their own Case: either through Ignorance or false Opinions infused into them, or exceffive Tender
Heb. xi 26-29.
nefs of Mind; or indeed more commonly by Reason of some bodily Disorder, though perhaps unperceived by themselves, which depresses their Spirits, and clouds their Understandings, and requires the Help of Medicine.
Another Sin against the Holy Ghost, mentioned in Scripture, is lying to him" : which means there, asserting Falshoods, being conscious that they were such, to Perfons inspired by him with the Knowledge of Men's Hearts, as did Ananias and Sapphira. But the Offences, which we are in Danger of committing against him, are refifting and quenching his good Motions and Influences, and grieving himp by corrupt Communication, evil Thoughts, or unholy Actions. These Things therefore let us dilia gently avoid; or, if we have fallen into thein, fincerely repent of them: the opposite Duties let us conscientiously practise, and stedfastly persevere in them: for fo fhalt we commend ourselves to God, and to the Spirit of his Graie; who is able to build us up, and give us an Inheritance amongst them who are sanctified"; to which he of his Mercy bring us all, for the Sake of our Redeemer Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Holy Catholic Church, the Com
munion of Saints.
VHE most ancient Creeds of all went no further
than a Declaration of Faith in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in whose Name we are baptized. For in this Profeffion all those other Points of Doctrine